africa caught offside: okocha

NIGERIAN soccer legend Austin "Jay Jay" Okocha has attributed Africa's dismal performance in the 2010 Fifa World Cup to poor planning and poor preparation.

NIGERIAN soccer legend Austin "Jay Jay" Okocha has attributed Africa's dismal performance in the 2010 Fifa World Cup to poor planning and poor preparation.

"African teams went into this tournament inadequately prepared to face the rest of the world," said Okocha, who is in the country as an analyst for SABC Sport. "Some of the teams, like Nigeria and Ivory Coast, hired new coaches six to seven weeks before the start of the World Cup, which does not make sense to me."

Sven-Goran Eriksson was appointed new coach of The Elephants of Ivory Coast after the dismissal of Vahid Halilhodzic by the Ivorian Football Federation.

This was after the Ivorians bombed out in the quarterfinals of the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations in Angola, eliminated by Algeria.

Nigeria employed Lars Lagerback of Sweden as coach at the end of February after firing former Orlando Pirates coach Shaibu Amodu.

Amodu was given a mandate by the Football Association of Nigeria to win the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola but he returned with a bronze medal.

The Nigerians, including senior government officials, made it clear to Amodu that bronze was not good enough for a team of the Super Eagles' stature and so he was given the boot.

South Africa cannot spared criticism either after Safa showed Brazilian Joel Santana the door in November, replacing him with his

compatriot and mentor Carlos Alberto Parreira.

"It was like we (Africa) were only informed three months ago that the World Cup is coming to our continent. South Africa won the bid to host the World Cup back in 2004," Okocha said.

"That was the time when all African teams should have started with thorough preparations for the tournament.

"Chopping and changing of coaches did not make things easy for us in the World Cup.

"We need to have confidence in our own African coaches, most of the teams coached by their former players - like Brazil, Germany, Holland and Denmark - are doing well."

Algeria's Rabah Saadane is the only African coach in this tournament. Okocha urged African teams to begin their 2014 World Cup preparations now to avoid another embarrassment in the quadrennial spectacular.

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